How do you make a perfect margarita? Well, since perfect is a relative term, I’m going to tell you how I like them. The fun part of this experiment is soliciting comments on additions, twists and embellishments. One thing I must insist upon however, save the blender to make a milk shake. In Mexico, we take the margaritas with fresh lime, and on the rocks. Oh, and save the plastic straw (popote in Mexico) too, there’s no need, and the local land fill is doing just fine without the added straws.
As we are a site that promotes all things Mexican, let’s start off with the tequila. After just having driven through the city of Tequila, the famous namesake for one of Mexico’s top exporting liquors, I can tell you that the country side is stunning. If you ever find yourself outside of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco, take the time to check out this area. Yikes, back to the topic on hand, MARGARITAS. The tequila should be 100% agave, (agave is the cactus like plant grown in Mexico and there are over 100 different types!) and the higher the quality of Mexican tequila the better but it only counts for the first one right? Try using Quervo 1800, Patron Silver, Herradura or Don Julio.
The next ingredient is Controy. Controy is a Mexican orange liqueur, and it may be difficult to source outside of Mexico, but the French Cointreau is a popular substitute if you find yourself making these away from your recent or intended dream Mexican vacation.
The last liquid ingredient are the limes, and we prefer the small Key lime size or type. Put away that mix, there can be no Yellow #5 in these margaritas! On the west coast of Mexico, the limes come in two sizes, the traditional Persian limes found in most markets in the US and Canada, and the smaller version, which seem to produce almost as much juice despite being a 1/4 the size. The juice of these limes carries more zest, crucial for carrying all of that booze.
Coarse sea salt to rim the glass. When I first started drinking margaritas and didn’t know any better, I preferred no salt, but now I like to rim the glass with salt, and simply remove the salt from the part of the glass that I put my lips to. While the drink sits, some of the salt dissolves into the mix, and provides a nice zing.
- 1.5 oz Agave Tequila (Don Julio for example)
- 1.5 oz Controy or Cointreau if you’re up North and can’t find
- 1.5 oz Key lime sized lime juiced, freshly squeezed please and as the last ingredient
- Ice, and don’t blend or crush them!
Mexican bar tenders have told me that they like to mix the drink in a shaker, similar to mixing a martini, and I agree with them. I also like to use a martini glass, as opposed to a rocks glass, but now we’re being picky.
The last piece of advice? Throw on some fun Latin music, or add other Latin themed side dishes, imagine yourself on a beach on the Pacific coast of Mexico, and have fun!